Ken Murphy, a former executive of Walgreens Boots Alliance, has taken the reins as CEO of supermarket giant Tesco after being named as successor to Dave Lewis last year.
As well as the departure of ex-CEO Dave Lewis, the company’s chief financial officer, Alan Stewart, and Charles Wilson, chief of Tesco’s Booker wholesale arm, have also announced their departures in what is being heralded as a “new chapter” for the supermarket.
Murphy held calls with shop workers and other retail executives at the supermarket on Thursday morning, as a way of introducing himself to employees and giving them a chance to ask him any questions they may have about the changes that are happening.
Shore Capital’s Clive Black commented that “[Mr Lewis] passes a leadership ‘ball’ on to his successor at the right pace, direction and height,” which will allow Murphy to take on his position without any major internal challenges.
Despite the impact of the pandemic on large parts of the retail industry, Tesco has delivered strong sales throughout, posting 10.5 per cent growth in the 12 weeks leading up to September 6th, according to Kantar.
The growth in sales seen by the supermarket will certainly be good news to Mr Murphy as he takes the reins of one of the biggest grocery retailers in the country, as it means he can start his journey with the business from a strong position.
In light of the pandemic and the subsequent economic recession that we have seen in this country, Tesco has pushed down prices in recent months to aid with customer retention. In March, the retailer launched an Aldi Price Match campaign, in which they matched hundreds of Tesco and branded products against prices in Aldi, which is renowned for its low prices. Tesco also launched a number of Clubcard-only offers to entice customers to continue shopping with them, efforts which have clearly been successful given the growth seen in sales over the last few months.
Last year, the retailer sold its mortgage book to Lloyds for a huge £3.8 billion, as well as recently having sold its operations in Thailand and Malaysia for an even more impressive £8 billion. With the pandemic still ongoing, the retailer appears to be focusing a large part of its efforts on sustaining and further growing its UK market, and Murphy will be at the helm of this process for the foreseeable future.